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Malthouse at Somerlea Farm, Charlton Musgrove

Description: Malthouse at Somerlea Farm

Grade: II
Date Listed: 29 August 1984
English Heritage Building ID: 261695

OS Grid Reference: ST7260931862
OS Grid Coordinates: 372609, 131864
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0854, -2.3924

Location: Charlton Musgrove, Somerset BA9 8HG

Locality: Charlton Musgrove
Local Authority: South Somerset District Council
County: Somerset
Country: England
Postcode: BA9 8HG

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Listing Text


Former maltings, now disused. Constructed in the mid-C19.

Reason for Listing

The former malthouse at Somerlea Farm, Charlton Musgrove is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Intactness: a very complete survival of a mid-C19 traditional floor maltings that retains clear evidence of all stages in the production of malt
Architectural: it retains the robust and distinctive architectural features which characterise malting of this period such as unglazed windows internal shutters and taking-in doors
Fittings: it retains the majority of the characteristic interior features of a floor maltings, including its growing floors, kiln furnace, roasting floor and steep tanks


Malt houses or maltings are purpose-built structures designed for storing and curing grain, usually barley, in order to produce malt, a prime ingredient in the production of beer and whisky, but also used in the food industry. Maltings have been constructed for at least the last 500 years and are spread throughout the country, although there are noticeable concentrations within the grain-growing eastern region of England. Their development illustrates the changing influences through time of farming practices, legislation, building technology and transport systems as well as more specialised changes in malting and kiln technology with the development of mechanised handling and power systems.

Very little is known about the history of the malthouse at Somerlea Farm. It was constructed between 1838 and 1886; it does not appear on the Tithe Map of 1838, but is depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886. It is possible that it was built following the opening of the Somerset and Dorset Railway in 1862, since the line passed some 3km to the west of the site. In the late C19 Somerlea Farm, which includes a C17 farmhouse (Grade II listed), was known as Malthouse Farm, but had adopted its current name by 1904. The footprint of the malthouse has not changed since the first edition OS map. It would appear, from the lack of soot within the kiln and the lack of wear on the growing floors, unlikely that the building was ever used for malting or, if it was, that it was in use for only a short period of time. More recently, parts of the building have been used for agricultural purposes and for storage.


Former maltings, now disused. Constructed in the mid-C19.

MATERIALS: It is built of coursed limestone rubble under slate roofs; those to the main part of the building are half hipped, while the projecting bay has a hipped roof. The windows throughout are unglazed casements of two or three lights with vertical wrought-iron security bars, under segmental-arched rubble heads, except for the second-floor windows which are flat-headed at the eaves. The windows to the south-west elevation are fitted with internal panelled shutters.

PLAN: It is essentially rectangular on plan with a central projecting bay on the north-east side. It is of three storeys and is largely typical of a Newark-pattern malthouse. Internally the building is divided into four separate sections: a central area containing the furnace and roasting floor; flanking long open ranges to the north-west and south-east where the growing/germinating floors were located; and a short projecting bay on the north-east side that served as a combined stair and loading range. Two single-storey lean-tos have been added to either side of the projecting bay in the C20 and these are not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: The main section has eleven bays and is approximately 50 metres long. The south-west elevation faces Somerlea Farmhouse and has a symmetrical arrangement of window openings except for the central section which has an off-centre doorway and a two-light window to the ground floor, and a three-light window above which marks the position of the roasting floor. The south-east return has a tall loading/pitching door with a second-floor window over. The ground floor of the north-east elevation has fewer window openings than the opposing side, with two windows to both the ground and first floors of the south-east range and a ground-floor doorway with a window above to the north-west range. There is also an inserted cart opening at the north end of the north-west range. On this side of the building both ranges are partly obscured by later lean-tos which are not of interest. The central three bays break forward, and each of its three floors has a central taking-in door with a two-light window to either side. There are two further windows to the first and second floor in the north-west return.

INTERIOR: Internally the building is little altered and of conventional form, reflecting its former use as a maltings. There are low floor-to ceiling heights and the long timber bridging beams are supported on a central row of cast-iron columns. The ground floor of the south-east range has been sub-divided with partitions and a small section of the first-floor timbers at the northern end of the opposite range has been removed, but otherwise the growing floors remain as built. The kiln is positioned in the central part of the building with a furnace to the ground floor. This has a brick plinth which supports segmental brick vaults with wrought-iron tie bars, and retains its cast-iron fire boxes, draw vents and an integral bread oven. Above the furnace are the characteristic cast-iron floor beams and perforated terracotta tiles of the kiln or roasting floor. The hatches between the kiln floor and the adjacent growing floors are fitted with either vertical runners for grain boards or plank doors. Above the kiln is an open-topped pyramid of tongue and groove boarding which is fixed to the roof structure and the surrounding walls. The four hoops for the roof cowl are visible, although the cowl covering itself does not survive. The projecting bay behind the kiln which served as a combined stair and loading range has two stone-lined steep tanks to the ground floor, a timber ladder staircase between the floors, and a chute between the attic and first floors. There are further hatches in the upper floors of the two flanking ranges. The roof throughout is a king post structure with angled struts, side purlins and common rafters.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.